How to Grow a Pecan Tree in Alabama


The pecan is the official state nut of Alabama. There are over 22,000 acres of pecan trees in the state with trees being found in 39 counties. Most of the pecan production in the state is centered near Mobile in the southern portions of the state. There are 6.8 million pounds of pecans produced in Alabama annually. Pecan trees will yield the best crops when meticulous care has been taken to ensure proper growing conditions. This is especially true in Alabama because the state's high humidity and sandy soils can wreak havoc on young seedlings.

Step 1

Choose a variety that will grow well in the state of Alabama. Select Jenkins, McMillan, Carter, syrup mill, Gafford, Farley or Elliott if you are a backyard grower. Choose from desireable surprize, Moreland, Oconee, cherrylee, Cape Fear, Kiowa or Sumner if you are an orchard grower.

Step 2

Purchase seedlings from an Alabama pecan nursery. Dellwood Pecan Nursery is located in Foley, Alabama (251-943-8693). Underwood Nursery is located in Summerdale, Alabama (251-943-8056). Mayo Pecan Nursery is located in Grand Bay, Alabama (251-865-4126). Order your seedlings in November or December so you may receive them while they are still dormant.

Step 3

Plant your pecan trees on ground that is flat or has a very gentle slope which allows water to run off easily. Make sure the area gets ample sunlight; eight hours during the summer months is ideal. Do not plant in sandy or clay soil.

Step 4

Dig a hole 2 feet deep and 2 feet wide with a posthole digger. Place the seedling inside the hole and check to make sure that the root system of the tree is not cramped or twisted inside the hole. Dig the hole wider if this is the case

Step 5

Empty a 20 lb. bag of topsoil into a wheelbarrow. Add 3/4 lb. of lime to the wheelbarrow with a plastic scoop. Use a garden rake to mix the topsoil and lime together thoroughly. Break up any lumps in the soil with the rake while you are doing this.

Step 6

Remove the seedling from the hole. Add enough topsoil mixture to the hole to make the original soil mark on the trunk of the seedling even with the ground. Place the seedling back in the hole and add a couple of handfuls of topsoil around the roots. Fill the hole back in with regular dirt.

Step 7

Plant the rest of the pecan seedlings at least 40 feet away from the first tree. Plant rows of pecan trees 40 to 50 feet apart. Plant at least two trees at one time so that they will pollinate one another.

Step 8

Water the newly planted trees heavily with a garden hose. Continue to water the new pecan trees regularly for the first three years of growth. They will need to be watered very heavily during July, August and September. Soak the roots and the area in a 4-foot diameter of the tree completely when watering.

Step 9

Mulch with a thick layer of mulch which has not been composted. Use pine straw or tree bark as mulching material. Cover the area around the trees at least 6 inches deep.

Step 10

Fertilize trees the second year after planting. Apply 1/10 lb. of zinc sulfate per year of tree's age, but do not use more than 2 lbs. of this powder per tree. Sprinkle evenly around the base of the tree and do not water for 12 hours after application.

Things You'll Need

  • Post-hole digger
  • Topsoil
  • Lime
  • Plastic scoop
  • Garden rake
  • Garden hose
  • Pine straw or tree bark
  • Zinc sulfate


  • Alabama Pecan Festival: Pecan Growing in Alabama
  • Alabama Pecan Growers Association
  • Encyclopedia of Alabama: Pecan Industry in Alabama
Keywords: Alabama pecans, pecan nurseries, growing pecan trees

About this Author

Misty Amber Brighton has been writing for 10 years. Her writing experience includes Trails Travels and GolfLink. She is a veteran of the United States Armed Forces and attends South University.